Retention of dental sealants placed on sound teeth and incipient caries lesions as part of a service-learning programme in rural areas in Mexico

Int J Paediatr Dent. 2012 Nov;22(6):451-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-263X.2011.01216.x. Epub 2012 Feb 6.


Background: Dental sealants are an effective treatment for the prevention and management of caries.

Objective: To determine the retention of sealants placed in a rural setting in Mexico as part of an international service-learning (ISL) programme and to determine associations between dental sealant's retention and caries diagnosis at the time of sealant placement.

Methods: Children aged 6-15 were examined for dental caries, received sealants by dental students as part of an ISL programme, and were re-examined 4, 2, or 1 years after placement to assess sealant survival. Sealants were placed on permanent sound surfaces and enamel caries lesions [International Caries Assessment and Detection System (ICDAS) criteria]. Sealant survival was explored using Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel tests and multivariate prediction models.

Results: 219 (46%) of 478 (mean age = 10.53 SD = 5.11) children who had received sealants returned for a recall examination (mean age = 10.89 SD = 3.11). After 1-4 years, 96.4% to 60.6% of the sealants placed on sound teeth had survived, and for sealants placed on surfaces with enamel caries lesions (ICDAS 1-3), 94.2% to 55.6% had survived. Differences were not statistically significant.

Conclusions: Sealants had survival rates comparable to those previously reported in the literature. Sealants placed on sound and enamel caries lesions had similar survival rates.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Community Dentistry / education
  • Community Dentistry / statistics & numerical data*
  • DMF Index
  • Dental Care for Children*
  • Dental Caries / prevention & control*
  • Dental Restoration Failure
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Mexico
  • Pit and Fissure Sealants / therapeutic use*
  • Preventive Dentistry / education
  • Preventive Dentistry / methods
  • Preventive Dentistry / statistics & numerical data*
  • Rural Population
  • Students, Dental
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Pit and Fissure Sealants